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Seeing in color – I need to know now, why the blue and pink?

To all you color theorists out there, we want some answers!

Why is it so important  for us to establish the gender identity of our offspring? If it’s a boy he must, at all cost, be raised from birth in a blue room and the girl in the pink? With only the most adventurous of parents moving to a bold (and non gender specific) yellow. Why do we do it and what came first? Did little boys all over the world scream “I want a blue room, I want my whole world to be blue!” or did we create an appreciation for specific colors in our children by imprinting their impressionable minds with these colors?

pink barbie girls room

Baby boy blue room

Now red tones, presumably including particularly intense shades of pink actually increase heart rates and levels of aggression while blue is considered a calming color. So what are we saying here? Give the girls some extra oomph to counteract their naturally sweet and even keeled dispositions and and provide a palliative environment for the guys to keep their exuberance down to a dull roar? Or are we, by surrounding the little princesses with all things pink, fuchsia and Barbie, creating the more aggressive of the two genders? And is all this color stereotyping a global phenomenon or is the pink/blue thing in particular an American thing to do?

  • http://ifthelampshadefits.blogspot.com/ Raina @ If the Lamp Shade Fits

    I read recently that pink was actually the “boy color” up until WW I, but I don’t remember why that changed.

    Helpful, aren’t I?

    I recently took my 3-year-old daughter to buy some new sneakers. All of the “girl” shoes looked like a glittery rainbow mess, so I picked up some plain navy blue ones from the “boy” area. Mind you these were the plainest of shoes and blue in color. No cars or robots or dinosaurs adorning them.

    My daughter wrinkled her nose and said “Boy shoes!!!!” in disgust. I bought them for her anyway.

  • http://www.AventeTile.com Bill Buyok

    I really enjoyed this post and always enjoy discussions on color. Color stereotyping is a convenient way for us to box things up in a category that we can define. It just doesn’t always work that way.

    Break the conventions and do what you like! Find the colors that work for you. May I suggest a soothing color in a peaceful green tone as the best choice for boys and girls. But what do I know? I don’t have kids.

  • http://www.9designinteriors.com Joanne Fairmont Yinger

    In a color theory class I had at MSU (for interior design), it was mentioned that, when asked what their favorite color was, men usually chose blue. Informally, I’ve done surveyed men on the same question and found they do say bleu. Maybe has something to do with our rods and cones.. .just a guess there. The rods and cones do play a role in elderly people’s vision. Apparently it is harder for the aging eye to appreciate subtle colors and a preference for bright pastels occurs.

  • http://www.weston007.co.uk Paul Weston

    What a very good question!! We didn’t know the sex of either of our boys pre-birth, so the “babies” room was kitted out in a mixture of yellows, and neutrals, and hints of bolder colours, like greens and reds here and there on the borders etc. Even now with the boys here, we have not changed the colours to ‘blue’…didn’t seem like an important thing to do.

    Am still intrigued why people have to do the pink and blue thing. A friend of my wife was so adamant she was having a girl, the whole room and accessories was done in pink, it was all hands on deck when little ‘Carter’ was born!! :)

  • admin

    That’s where little Carter’s future sense of identity worries me..:)

  • http://www.vurv.ca glenn

    We tried so hard to be gender neutral with the decorating for our two girls. But, once under the influence of peers, and things like disney princesses, the pink was unavoidable. The good news is, that by the time they finished kindergarten, they totally rejected all pinkness. It seems to me that self identity is extreme as kids begin to learn the norms of a particular culture – then it usually mellows out as layers of complexity are added on.

    As far as choosing a colour for a babies room – I think the parti for the room is so much more important than the colour.

  • http://www.joomla-web-developer.com Joomla Development

    Wow, really very lovely post!

  • Jackie Zock

    It most likely began when a mother was walking her adorable daughter and someone said what a cute little boy or vise versa… the color pink or blue began to signify the gender of the baby when the baby’s features didn’t.


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